BAKU, Azerbaijan, March 10. The X Global Baku Forum, which is gaining more importance and attracting more attention yearly, kicked off on March 9, 2023. Having evolved into a solid platform for discussions on global issues, this forum has once again gathered dozens of influential political figures from around the world to address up-to-date issues on the agenda. It was President Ilham Aliyev, as the initiator of the Global Baku Forum, who turned this platform into one of the most significant centers in the world.
Azerbaijan confirms its status as a center where all key issues of intercultural dialogue and multiculturalism are discussed.
Baku's increased attention to the problem of intercultural dialogue is natural. Azerbaijan is making every effort to develop this process, as the country knows firsthand what a territorial conflict, occupation of native lands, and humanitarian catastrophe is because 20 percent of the country's territory was once occupied by Armenia, towns and villages were subjected to ethnic cleansing, and more than 1 million Azerbaijanis were expelled from their homes.
As President Ilham Aliyev said addressing the participants of the X Global Baku Forum at the opening ceremony, Armenia conducted a policy of ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijanis and expelled them from Karabakh and created sufferings for a million Azerbaijanis.
"Despite our attempts to resolve it peacefully, and to persuade Armenia to comply with the UN Security Council resolutions, which demanded the immediate, complete, unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from Azerbaijani territories, Armenia just ignored the UN Security Council resolutions and demonstrated disrespect to international law and international community. In 1992, just after the conflict started, the OSCE created Minsk Group. But, unfortunately for 28 years, Minsk Group did not present any results, did not produce any result. And it seemed to us in the end of the negotiation process that they just wanted to freeze the situation. They wanted to make this conflict frozen forever. But, we did not agree with that. We did what we considered right to do, using our right for self-defense, the UN Charter, particularly Article 51. We liberated our territories by force. This was our legitimate right," President Ilham Aliyev pointed out.
One of the panels of the forum is devoted to discussions on energy and transport corridors. Having liberated Karabakh from occupation, Azerbaijan has launched a large-scale reconstruction work, developing major infrastructure projects in the transport and energy sectors. These initiatives have increased Azerbaijan's potential to enhance its role as a leading logistics hub in the region. Currently, Azerbaijan is one of the crucial connecting links of key transport networks between Europe and Asia.
Thus, for instance, President Ilham Aliyev in his opening speech once again stressed that, in 2022, transits through Azerbaijan grew more than 75 percent.
"Our modern transportation infrastructure now is needed more than ever before - with the railroad connections, highway connections, with the biggest shipping fleet in the Caspian, with the biggest air cargo fleet in the region. We really contributed a lot to transportation security, because many countries now they need transportation security. They are looking for the new routes, and that one of these routes is through Azerbaijan," President Ilham Aliyev noted.
Azerbaijan's long-term energy strategy basically saves Europe today. Looking into the future, President Ilham Aliyev provided Europe’s much-needed energy security. The far-reaching plans to expand TANAP from 16 to 32 bcm, and TAP - from 10 to 20 bcm, will increase Azerbaijan's contribution to the European energy system even more. More than 10 European countries have already lined up to get access to Azerbaijani gas.
Discussions on the transition to clean energy, of course, is also on the agenda of the forum. And Azerbaijan does not lag behind in the regard either. One of the most remarkable achievements is the project on the construction of a transmission line under the Black Sea, which is going to transport green energy produced in the Caspian to a number of European countries. Moreover, 25 GW of green energy is expected to be produced in Azerbaijan, as a result of contacts signed with various international companies, as well as 157 GW of offshore wind energy. All these will contribute to the country's energy security, and also support Azerbaijan's partners.
This Global Baku Forum is themed "The World of Today: Challenges and Hopes". And, indeed, amid these challenges the world faces today, Azerbaijan brings fresh hope both to its closest neighbors and partners from the wider region. The country is already considered as a reliable, trustworthy partner in many aspects. The growing influence of President Ilham Aliyev in the international arena strengthens the country’s political power. Tackling global problems in a gathered manner has always been on of the guidelines of President Ilham Aliyev's farsighted policy. That is why the choice of Baku for political forces across the globe to gather and try to find solutions to pivotal issues is clear.